Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Hopefull where you are it’s looking like a good weekend. Ugh, here… one of the city’s bigger races, the Monument Ave 10K is this weekend, and the weather report at race time on Saturday is low-30’s with a 50% chance of a rain/snow mix PLUS 20-25mph winds. I may “accidentally” oversleep…

All I want is ONE dry race. I am apparently some type of black cloud for good race day weather.

So if your weather looks like ours, and you’d rather stay inside, here’s a few links to check out.

Banana Pup Pops on Bitz & Giggles – My dogs would freak out over these. Let’s be honest… they freak out over anything frozen, including plain ice. This might be a fun summer project.

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Lemon Yogurt Poppy Seed Bread from Valerie’s Kitchen – My maternal grandmother used to make some type of poppy seed bread that I’ve never quite been able to recreate. Maybe it’s just the “grandma’s is better” philosophy, but this one looks to be worth a try.

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This Unruly Mess I’ve Made by Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis – My husband and I saw these two (and crew) in concert in January. This is the new album, and I have been listening to many of these songs on repeat!

This bathroom idea. The wallpaper? I love this look. Would I hate it in a few years? And the reno was in Phoenix?!?

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Healthier General Tso’s Chicken by Nutmeg Nanny – The hubbs loves stir fries, although his only requirement is that the sauce be thick enough to actually coat the meat and vegetables. The photos of this one look like it fits the bill (and healthier take-out fake-outs, always a win).

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Monkey Squares by The Girl Who Ate Everything – I have So. Many. Bananas. It doesn’t help that we eat them almost daily (so we always buy them), but neither of us will touch them as soon as there is a spot on the peel. That is unless they are mixed with copious amounts of butter and sugar and subsequently baked. Banana cake plus browned butter frosting. Sounds amazing. And a double win if I end up using bananas for the dogs above and for us in these babies!

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100% Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

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I did it! The hubbs finally admitted my pizza crust was better than Trader Joe’s. I think it was the bubbles that got him (he loves when there are bubbles in a pizza crust when it bakes).

Either that or the fact that this crust can stand up to some serious pizza toppings.

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I’m not quite sure why I fell off the pizza dough bandwagon. At one point, when I was blogging more previously, I was pretty good about keeping some dough on hand. The great thing about pizza dough is that you can prep it, allow it to rise for the first time, and freeze it until you’re ready to use it.

This recipe makes 2 crusts, although they end up more of a hand-tossed style on thickness, so you might be able to stretch it into 3 pizzas if you really like a cracker thin crust. There’s a couple things we really like about this recipe. The first is that it is 100% whole wheat. The whole wheat version from Trader Joe’s definitely has its place in our house, but by the list of ingredients, it seems it’s probably about 50:50 whole wheat-white flour. The second is that it is so easy to work with when prepping the pizza. This is actually probably the winning factor for the hubbs since he’s the pizza baking guru in the house.

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Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

100% Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients:
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
1-1/2 Tbsp. (or 2 pkts) of active dry yeast
2 tsp. sugar
2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl of the mixer. Using the dough hook, mix on low until the ingredients are well combined and the dough has been allowed to kneed, about 3-5 minutes.

Remove the dough, form into a ball, and place in a covered bowl in a warm, draft-free place. If I am baking anything in the oven, I usually cover the mixer bowl with a towel and set it on the stove top. Allow to rise for 60-90 minutes or until the dough begins to “flatten” on top.

Form into two equal balls of dough. At this point, the dough can be rolled out to be used immediately for a pizza or frozen. If freezing, wrap in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer ziploc bag. Remove from the freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature for 3-4 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator) when ready to use.

Meal Plan – Week 5

Slight randomness in this, but one of our dogs has a stuffed animal (Jenna, if you’re reading this, it is Mr. Bear) that has developed a worn-out hole in his belly. I’ve been putting off fixing it for a little bit because I am horrible with a needle and thread. In all seriousness, I sewed my supplies ziplock bag to my tote bag when I took Home Economics in middle school. The pup was playing with it tonight, and I felt really bad about not having Mr. Bear in one piece. I really need to attempt to fix it… I’m probably better off talking one of the surgery residents at work into “suturing” his belly closed. Anyone have any good sewing tips?

Nonetheless, the hubbs is off tomorrow and headed to get groceries, so here’s our list:

Ready Spaghetti – It’s Monument Ave 10K week. Pasta! This is a recipe from a child-geared cookbook I had as a kid. It’s not gourmet, but provides more of a homemade sauce in a pretty quick matter. Plus, I just like it every once and awhile.

15 Minute Avocado Caprese Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette from Joyful Helathy Eats.

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Chicken Brauts – We have buns and sour kraut to use.

Copycat Panera Grilled Chicken and Berry Salad – I’ve made a similar one of these before, but this one is slightly different. And, now you can buy the Panera Poppy Seed dressing.

BBQ Chicken Pizza – Slightly different than my other recipe. This is an at home copycat from a brewery pizza in Tempe, AZ. It’ll always be slightly inferior as my BBQ sauce isn’t made from their stout.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! After missing last week, I wanted to be sure to be on top of this one. If you’re reading this first thing in the morning, then we may not have left yet, but if it’s mid-morning on the East Coast, you can envision us driving north blaring 90’s pop music!

Bring on the Hot Chocolate 15K (just hope I have a solid 9 miles left in my legs after the rest of the tri training this week)!

Here’s what I’m loving:

I know I’m a touch late on the board here, but is anyone else excited about the smaller iPhone? I semi-hate how big phones have gotten. All I want is for it to fit in my pocket!

These cookies from Picky Palate. Butterscotch is my favorite. In fact, oatmeal scotchies are my favorite type of cookies for that reason. I’m going to have to make these!

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This quote may need to be the theme of the weekend 🙂

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We’ve both been craving Greek food after eating at a local Greek restaurant here in town a couple weekends ago. With the warmer weather blessing us recently, these skewers from Recipe Runner may also need to make an appearance on the dinner menu.

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Lastly, someone needs to give me a kick in the butt to finally try making these. I had some time to kill in the airport recently, so I re-arranged some Pinterest boards. Now my macaron board is staring me in the face. Maybe these strawberry colada ones guys from Taste and Tell?

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Chicken Shawarma Fries with Mediterranean Salsa and Garlic Sauce

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Does anyone else falter slightly when asked which food is their favorite? Please tell me I’m not alone here.

I feel like I like so many different flavors that it is hard for me to pick, although I will admit that Mediterranean is amongst my favorite. As long as we stay away from goat cheese. I just can’t do the “tang” and that flavor stays on anything it remotely touches on a plate. Goat feta/cheese = not for me. Cow feta = I could eat with a spoon.

I first talked about these Shawarma topped fries in my menu plan, but at the time, I wasn’t sure if I would serve this over fries or rice. I will admit I’m glad I went the fry route. Crispy skinned potatoes also are awesome. That said, I’m sure rice would work too and as long as you’re using a packet, would make this quicker for a weeknight meal.

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My recipe tips would be to be sure to cut the potatoes on the thinner side as this will allow for more crisping. I would also recommend spraying your foil with non-stick spray for the fries. Mine stuck to the foil a bit despite the olive oil (which was slightly disappointing as I lost the crispy sides on some of them). I also subbed some of the mayo out for plain Greek yogurt on the sauce, and it worked well for us.

Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Chicken Shawarma Fries with Mediterranean Salsa and Garlic Sauce
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. allspice
pinch cinnamon
pinch cayenne pepper
salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. thin boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-1/2 lbs (2 large) Russet potatoes
salt and pepper
non-stick spray

For the Mediterranean Salsa:
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup packed Parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 lemon, juiced
Cavendar’s Greek Seasoning, to taste

For the Garlic Sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt
water to desired consistency

Add 1/2 lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, spices, and garlic to a large ziplock bag. Squash to combine. Add the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Lay the chicken in a single layer and bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through, flipping the chicken halfway through. Allow to set for 5-10 minutes prior to cutting into bite-sized pieces. Set aside

Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees.Re-spray the foil with non-stick spray (or replace the foil). Slice the potatoes thinly into fries (can leave the skins on). Toss in a bowl with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy, stirring halfway through.

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the salsa in a medium bowl. Stir to combine and set aside. Add all the ingredients for the garlic sauce in a bowl. Mix. Add water, a little bit at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.

Top the fries with the chicken, salsa, and garlic sauce. Serve.

Meal Plan – Week 4

Planning simple meals this week – I’m out of town from Friday morning through Sunday evening, so the hubbs will be on his own. The translation of that is there will be lots of grilled sausages, grilled hamburgers, and possibly a pizza in the house. Good thing I made and froze some pizza dough for him this last weekend!

Our plans aside, this is what’s sounding good to me (and what I’ll be cooking for the meals I’m here!). On that note, I’m a little lighter on recipes this week (only picking out 4), since I’m planning on being out of town.

Cheeseburger Salad – There’s a similar recipe in the April Cooking Light issue that reminded me I haven’t made ours recently.

Greek Yogurt Egg Salad Sandwiches – I actually don’t have any leftover hardboiled eggs from Easter (we worked so we didn’t really celebrate), but I am planning to make a few as this sounds good and so easy! I won’t do this for a weeknight meal, but how good would this be with homemade French loaves?!?

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King Ranch Chicken and Quinoa Casserole in the April Cooking Light – Quinoa + casserole + Southwest flavor + a recipe that’ll make for some lunches with leftovers. Sold.

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CL April 16: Cook Once, Eat 3x-Quinoa

White Bean Vegetable Pizza – We have cheese and bean mixture leftover from the pizza this week. And it was delicious. Repeater!

Enjoy!

Thai Cashew Chopped Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

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So, remember that Sweet Thai Chili Peanut Butter from Sprelly. This salad was the recipe I finally picked out to use it. I didn’t end up making the pad thai as I was having a hard time getting over fish sauce. Silly? Possibly. I just can’t get my mind over adding fish sauce to anything. Have you smelled it by itself?

But this? This salad and the dressing were both awesome. In fact, we had enough salad for 4 meals, but only enough dressing for two. My husband was eating it with a spoon. That said, I am excited about the possibilities for this recipe. It was fresh. Light. Simple. Fast. Sounds like the perfect summer meal, and I’m sure we will end up making it all summer.

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The salad itself is just chopping vegetables. I did use actual heads of romaine lettuce, but I’m sure you could swap out prepared salad mix to make it slightly quicker. I mixed the dressing in a small bowl using just a whisk, but you could probably also add this to a blender (or even a smoothie cup) if you wanted to make it easier too.

If you never use ginger, my tip is to buy a piece and freeze it. Then when it is time to make the dressing, you can just peel it and use it on a microplane while frozen. My last tip. Don’t skip the salted cashews (and the salt is key)!

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Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Thai Cashew Chopped Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing
From The Recipe Critic

Ingredients:
2 heads Romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
15-20 sliced baby carrots
1/2 cup frozen edamame, thawed
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup salted cashews

Ginger Peanut Dressing:
1/3 cup sweet thai chili peanut butter (see Sprelly)
2 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sesame oil
water to thin (I used about 2 Tbsp)

In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, honey, ginger, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients through the green onions. Toss. Top with the cashews and dressing.

Make-Ahead Veggie Breakfast Casserole

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Last week we had a little “going away” breakfast party for a couple of the guys at work who were leaving us. I work with a pretty big group of people, so it is always fun to do a work potluck where I you to eat a little bit of a whole bunch of different foods!

There were already quite a few people signed up to bring breakfast ‘sweets’ – bagels, muffins, doughnuts. So I was looking for something on the savory side that would be easy to transport. The only caveat to this was due to dietary restrictions, it would be much easier to have the dish be vegetarian. Enter the idea for an egg casserole, except I needed a recipe. My dad has made one growing up, but it always contained Polish sausage and would be a bit plain without the meat.

In a recipe search, I came across this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction that looked pretty customizable. Bonus in that it was make-ahead because let me be honest. I already had to bake this and be into work by 6:30 that morning. And I don’t function too well in the morning any earlier than that.

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I mostly used her recipe as a base, swapping and adding things where I thought it might be good. As mentioned above, I did not add any meat, thus I ended up adding some shredded hash browns to the cooked veggie mixture in an attempt to ‘heft’ the casserole up a touch. Other than no mushrooms, I largely followed her veggie list, adding only a jalapeño that happened to be in my fridge. I used normal sandwich bread for the bread in the recipe, although I’m sure any type of bakery loaf you may have would be awesome here as well. Just know that it can work with the bread you normally have in the house too 🙂

On the bake time, I will say to watch it closely. I also baked mine on the longer side, 53 minutes to be exact, as I was concerned about ensuring the middle was cooked (particularly as I had added the potatoes). The eggs themselves were not over baked, however the bottom of the casserole was more of a dark tan color. I might shave a few minutes off that next time and keep it closer to the 48-50min range. Keep in mind, if the casserole has a chance to cool off for a bit, it will seem to ‘set up’ more as well. I cannot speak to reheating as the casserole did not make it until lunch at work, but I have had success reheating egg bakes in the past. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Make-Ahead Veggie Breakfast Casserole
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 bell peppers of any color, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (10 oz) pkg baby spinach
1/3 to 1/2 pkg frozen shredded hash browns
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices of bread (any type desired), torn into bite-sized pieces
10 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Non-stick spray

Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil. When warm, add the bell peppers, onions, and jalapeño and sauté for 4-5 mintues, or until crisp-tender. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the potatoes and cook until warmed through (this should help get out any extra water). Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set the vegetables aside.

Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Add the torn bread in a (mostly) single layer over the bottom of the pan.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. Stir in 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour half of the egg mixture over the bread. Top with the vegetables and cover with the remaining egg mixture. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the casserole.

Spray the bottom of a piece of aluminum foil with non-stick spray. Cover the casserole and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Remove and allow to come to room temperature prior to baking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the casserole, uncovered, until the top is golden, the edges are crispy, and the middle appears to be set or about 40-50 minutes. Allow to cool as desired (will ‘set up’ slightly more as it cools).

Meal Plan – Week 3

I’m hoping this last weekend was our last bout of cooler weather here. It’s warmed up again since, and I was able to go for a run outside last night in shorts and a tank. I know this isn’t true for all, but I am such a warm weather girl! I should throw out an over-under on how long it will be before I have a sock tan line…

Here’s what I’m planning for our meals this week (nothing too special as I’m working this weekend):

I’ve been on a thai kick with last week’s peanut butter, but this Thai Cashew Chopped Salad with a Ginger Peanut Sauce looks awesome. Also loving that there’s no fish sauce!

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White Bean Vegetable Pizza from The Cookin’ Chemist

Whole-Grain Veggie Burrito Bowls – from April’s Cooking Light. Sounds like an upgrade to our go-to quick dinner burrito bowls

Chicken Shawarma Fries with Mediterranean Salsa with Garlic Sauce from Iowa Girl Eats. Not 100% sure if I’ll make this over fries or over rice, but it looks great! After looking at last week’s Friday Favorites, I seem to be on a fries kick.

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Grilled Vegetable Masala Burgers from Trader Joes topped with feta cheese spread and served with grilled veggies. So good. We first tried these burgers topped with the dip around a year ago, and TJs was sold out of the burgers for weeks after that. So glad we’ve been able to get them recently. The burgers are good on their own, but the feta dip makes it.

Enjoy!

Friday Favorites

Ahh… It’s girls’ weekend. In about T-6 hours (or at least until we all arrive)! I’m leaving the hubbs to fend for itself this weekend and meeting up with a few of my undergraduate girlfriends in Nashville. I haven’t seen a couple of them FOREVER (bonus that I get to meet a new little one in the group!)

So, cheers to the weekend. Here’s what I’m loving right now!

I am pretty much obsessed with anything sweet potato, but how awesome do these Mexican Loaded Sweet Potato Fries from A Couple Cooks look?!?

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I came across this video on Facebook this week with the tag line, “Today I wish for something to make me as happy as this dog is about his dinner.” Number one: please watch the video. Number two: this completely made my day. What a great philosophy on life.

Cake Batter Cookie Pie by Crazy for Crust. Enough said. I’m pretty sure I’d volunteer to be her taste tester! I love so many of her recipes.

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Have you done Stitch Fix? I like them, but haven’t ordered a box in quite awhile (I am not signed up for a recurring schedule). I ran across this dress from Stitch Fix this week, and I’m thinking it may be time for a new fix.

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My Grandma has always made Kolaches growing up. I was talking about this recipe with my Dad this week, and he sent me Grandma’s recipe. So, possibly Kolaches coming soon! This recipe from My Baking Addiction looks pretty good in its own accord.

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